Pentagon

Cost of Military Healthcare Has Almost Tripled Since 2001

Congress has rejected efforts from the Pentagon to establish higher out-of-pocket fees

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WASHINGTON (AP)—The loud, insistent calls in Washington to rein in the rising costs of Social Security and Medicare ignore a major and expensive entitlement program—the military's health care system.

Despite dire warnings from three defense secretaries about the uncontrollable cost, Congress has repeatedly rebuffed Pentagon efforts to establish higher out-of-pocket fees and enrollment costs for military family and retiree health care as an initial step in addressing a harsh fiscal reality. The cost of military health care has almost tripled since 2001, from $19 billion to $53 billion in 2012, and stands at 10 percent of the entire defense budget.